February 21, 2016 by Douglas Black
It was quite predictable. As the great recession ebbs vehicle sales are up. And America hit the powerball number as well with gas prices half of what they were two years ago, pushing sport utility and pickup truck sales to record numbers.
The heavy hitters like GM, Ford, Dodge RAM, and Toyota were showing their big guns this week at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. Toyota’s debut reveal was the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro pickup, while Ford released the new 2017 Explorer XLT Sport Appearance Package, expanding its Explorer line up to six models, which also includes the Explorer Base, XLT, Limited, Sport and Platinum Edition.
Ford made this announcement, along with unveiling the 2017 Ford Escape sport utility vehicle during the Media Breakfast where keynote speaker Mark LaNeve, Ford’s Vice President, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service said Crossover SUVs are the fastest growing segment in overall sales, and expected to grow over five years.
According to LaNeve, the millennial generation, specifically active lifestyle young adults ages 25-35 years old, are opening their wallets to crossover utility vehicles, contrary to the notion that they are less interested in car ownership than previous generations.
Other producers are taking notice as well. KIA is expanding their product line with the all-new 2017 Kia Niro hybrid subcompact crossover vehicle, or as Kia describes it, a hybrid utility vehicle. Designed at Kia’s design centers in Calif., the Niro features high-tech safety features including blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking, advanced smart cruise control, lane departure warning and lane change assist, making this a perfect vehicle for young families with active lifestyles.